Cheryl Bentyne to Judge 2014 Michael Feinstein's Great American Songbook High School Vocal Competition

Cheryl Bentyne, Grammy Award-winning jazz singer, will serve as a judge/mentor at the 2014 Great American Songbook High School Vocal Competition. Bentyne joins founder of the program, Michael Feinstein, for this one-of-a-kind high school program.

"Through this competition, we are reaching a new generation to teach this music and the American history that inspired and influenced these composers," said Michael Feinstein, founder of the competition and the organization called the Great American Songbook Initiative.

The event will be July 20-25 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, of which Feinstein is artistic director. The week consists of workshops and master classes for the finalists culminating in the final competition performance on July 25.

Cheryl Bentyne is best known as the soprano voice of The Manhattan Transfer. She has several solo recordings to her credit, her most recent being "West Coast Cool with Mark Winkler" (Summit, 2013), "Let Me Off Uptown" (Telarc, 2005), "The Book of Love" (Telarc, 2006), "The Gershwin Songbook" (ArtistShare, 2010) and, "Let's Misbehave: The Cole Porter Songbook" (Summit, 2012).

The week-long competition, held in the Indiana city of Carmel, is an annual event sponsored by the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative and is the only U.S. competition dedicated solely to the music from Broadway, Hollywood musicals and the Tin Pan Alley era of the early to mid-twentieth century.

High school vocalists are encouraged to apply online at until March 31, 2014. High school students grades 9-12 have the opportunity to participate. Twelve regional winners will be invited to the Feinstein Initiative's headquarters in Carmel, IN, July 20-25, 2014, to participate in a five-day academy on interpreting and performing the music of the Great American Songbook. Five-time Grammy nominee, Michael Feinstein, and other top music industry professionals will conduct workshops and master classes throughout the week. The final competition performance will be held in the 1,600 seat Palladium Concert Hall at the Center for the Performing Arts.

One student will be awarded the title of Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador and will receive $3000 and the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to perform with two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominated entertainer and founder of the Feinstein Initiative, Michael Feinstein. The Youth Ambassador will serve for one year and will have opportunities to perform throughout the year.

Regional finalists for the 2014 competition will be selected from the following eligible states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Irwin and Betty Helford are the national sponsors. Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a sponsor of the vocal competition.

The mission of the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative is to inspire and educate by celebrating the Great American Songbook.

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